Sep 30, 2007

Splendid Indeed

In a world with so many good books, I read for so very many reasons. This one I read because I wanted to know about Afghanistan.

I read the author's "The Kite Runner" and was deeply moved by the pathos of the city under several regimes and skirmishes. With class society and betrayal as themes, it was a dramatic book, grim and worthwhile.

A Thousand Splendid Suns is twice a illuminating to me. The author, Kahled Hosseini, has been living here in California since the 1980's but grew up on Afghanistan. He obviously has some knowledge of the situation in Kabul after he left. I was engrossed, following the political situation more clearly than I had before (I always have a hard time with straight info...a plot always seems to engage my mind more fully). There are two very different protagonists, both female. They reveal so many beautiful and terrible things about the Afghan culture as they negotiate the relationships they are confronted with. There is brutality but also loving sacriface. The burqa is both a repressive tool and a comfort. I recommend this book, although it is not for the faint of heart. I'd say his second book is the more Splendid of the two.

On to knitting: I stayed up late last night to finish my embossed leaves socks:

I still hate photographing my own feet. It is hard enough to keep the momentum when dieting...but with THAT kind of discouragment, ugh!

Tammy and I are looking to reading "The Robe" next I think. By Lloyd C. Douglas.

Sep 26, 2007

Homeschooling Bliss

This is why I love homeschooling with great books:

The Courage of Sarah Noble is one of those books that makes me wonder how it all came together. It was easy to read for these girls, young as they are. We got so much out of the story. The illustrations, themes, relationship models and cultural exploration were all worthy and FUN! For our club meeting we made log cabin houses, Indian houses, played 'the pebble game' from the book, made and ate homemade corn cakes and spent lots of time talking about the book. Half the girls listed it as their favorite book ever. Not only all that, but this was a group effort, with 3 moms pulling together for these 12 girls, and 3 older siblings serving as wonderful helpers, too! Satisfaction.

I invited myself over to a friend's house last night to watch House (no TV here) and had a great time, but something was definitely missing for me in the show. He NEEDS to hire people. He may think he can push everybody away, but WE know better: for him to have a life worth watching, he needs people.

On a knitting note, a descendant of Sarah Noble gave us a little history lesson when we read her writings on duties of an eight-year-old in 1700; they would be in charge of knitting socks for the WHOLE FAMILY. Wow. It was a good chance to show off my own socks.

Sep 23, 2007

"Courage of Sarah Noble" and Inspiration

How can I ever decide? Ravelry is becoming dangerous for me. I want to cast on for everything. Some people are spending too much time looking around and photographing stash. Yeah, I like that too, but what's getting me is the inspiration. I have NO TIME for inspiration right now! Still, I couldn't help it; I cast on for the River Rapids Socks using my STR:

And I made a tiny bit of progress on the lace scarf.

What I haven't done is Quiz #4 and weekly reading #5 due on Thurs.

And I haven't prepared for my Girls' Book Club this week that I am leading. It's for "The Courage of Sarah Noble" and I've got 13 girls coming who have all read the book. They'll be so much fun, all 6-9 year olds.

Sep 20, 2007

Knitting in the Chair

As I was brought into the back of the dentist office, the dental assistant glanced at my knitting and remarked "I see you are was still knitting." I have gone there fairly often over the last four years but when he remarked about my knitting, I realized that he found it to be a little strange. I thought back to the other times I brought my knitting in and I think I've actually knitted in the dentist's chair several times (during the down times of waiting, between forms of torture). It must bring me a sense of peace and normality while they torture me.

My son and I spent a couple of hours at the park. He threw some bark and leaves in the air.

This is the Malabrigo I bought the other day .

It's the one that caused me to have such vivid knitting dreams.

Do you like the gorgeous colors? I did cast on and begin the garter edge of the project, but got lost in my first row of pattern. Bummer. I took it our this morning. The designer assured me that I wouldn't get lost! Maybe I should tell her. No, that would only embarrass me.

This is what the trees looked like when I looked up at the park while I studied.

And this is what it looked like when i looked down.

Sep 18, 2007

Knitting Dreams and Dorian Gray

My computer is down because we are transferring from one computer to another so I have no pictures at all. But I did get to the LYS for some more Malabrigo Lace and found two beautiful colors, one for me and one for that project. I even took pictures to share. Maybe tonight.

While I slept, I had a delightfully detailed and long-lasting dream about knitting with one of those hanks. I worked on it for a couple of inches and had fun, easily working the lace. Then later I did a few pattern repeats and I even remember the feel of the yarn in my fingers. That was one clear dream. When I woke up I was actually surprised when I came out to the living room and there it was, still in the hank. Weird.

I finished Oscar Wilde's "The Picture Of Dorian Gray" and I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The introduction actually warned us that it wasn't very good and that this work might only appeal to the young and easily impressed. While I wasn't exactly enamored of this book, it was engaging and witty as Oscar Wilde can be. I especially like his play, "An Ideal Husband" which was made into a movie a few years back. Rupert Everett was a genius as that dialog. But I digress. I think this book might have arisen out of the overly moral and preachy literature so prevalent at the time. I have no evidence, but I have read of bit of that moral writing and I notice a similarity of theme and tone, although "Dorian" has of course turned it all up on its end. Specifically, the values of society and individuals are questioned and found wanting. They are revealed as trite and silly and ultimately self-serving. Many of those values, however, were not really bad...they were simply shrouded in Wilde's own dark fabric and seemed to be so. I liked it, really. I know Donna has read it and encouraged me to go through with it. Have YOU read it? Were you a youngster?

Sep 17, 2007

Malabrigo Lace and Memoria Press

This is the Malabrigo laceweight I bought last week from the LYS. I intended to knit it up right away for someone who looks good in purple/mauve colors and in the store it looked pretty close.

I was going to make Wendy's Easy Flame Lace Scarf. It was the perfect project for me right NOW. So I got the yarn and yet when I got it home, it had morphed into something different.

It looks PINK with a little purple mixed in. I can not knit this now. It will have to wait until I get a chance to go back and exchange for a more subtle color for my subtle recipient. Bummer.

BTW, although I didn't know it, it turned out to be the exact colorway of Wendy's Easy Flame Lace Scarf, which is beautiful and fun. Just not for the lady who will receive it.

Also, I must show you this book:

It is so cool. My mother-in-law had a special list of birthday cakes she would make for her kids growing up. One of the most favorites was what they called "icebox cake". I have had the great pleasure of eating the said "icebox cake" and it was such a winner! I don't know why I never did it for my kids. Now that this book has come out and has the SAME cake, I can relive the glory of that cake and see so many more, with such variety....and they are EASY. Do try it!

The last shot is simply a schooling one. Memoria Press seems to be getting a lot of use lately. This one is cursive writing practice. She doesn't look like she's getting any practice, does she?

Sep 15, 2007

A Misty Soccer mom

Today we had to arrive at 6:50 am for group soccer photos. All ready. I've been thinking about being part of this sport and...
...I feel so very suburban: I am a soccer mom. I now have four kids in soccer for the 3rd year.

I become involved in the play so much that I have a mantra, "I will not cheer, I will not cheer".
Why? For me, cheering becomes squealing and even jumping and flailing. My children do not find this behavior becoming in a 41 yr old. Neither do the other more sedate moms. So I repeat my mantra and get a grip on things. My son today gave me a very nice gift. He told me I could cheer. He liked it. He wanted to be cheered for. So with a misty smile, I cheered today. I ran out of batteries so his game didn't get shot, but it would have been wet anyway.
Lady Eleanor has received some progress over the last month and yet it isn't really showing any huge progress, so I photographed it on my littlest kid. It makes the project look bigger, eh?

It was early on a cold morning, so she was happy, cuddly model.

I picture myself in it later in the year at the soccer games, saying my mantra.

Sep 11, 2007

Forgot to Tag...

This is the hard part for me. I have yet to learn how to give your names and put in a link. Uh,oh. Here goes:


Did I get it right? Hope so, cause I'd love to see your random answers.

I've been Tagged!

I had to look up the meaning of "meme" today after Tammy tagged me with the "8 Random Things Meme". I always enjoy reading other people's memes, finding it a quick peek into things not normally blogged about. So here goes with 8 random things about me:

1) I am pretty random...not very consistent and liking variety in most things.

2) I cannot stand to read directions for appliances, new toys or anything else! (Knitting is the only exception!) I am much to impatient to take the time to read them.

3) I went to UCLA and majored in Psychology. It took me 5 whole years and had a very inconsistent record. No surprise huh!

4) As a young thing, I always dreamed about living in exotic places like Nepal.

5) My favorite way to give birth was with NO DRUGS, although I HATE PAIN. Go figure!

6) Because my father loved the outdoors, I learned to backpack and snow ski by the time I was 4 yrs old.

7) My dream, still held dearly, ever since early childhood was to be a singer. Not necessarily famous or rich, just doing it in front of everybody and having people love it as much as I did. Instead, I was just a loud, off-key, tuneless kid. Again, Go figure!

8) I love to cook. Even though I eat food prepared by Nutrisystem, I still love to cook for my family. Maybe that's why I am needing Nutrisystem....

Great news for me came in the email box. I got an invite to Ravelry. Thank you Tammy for sharing with me! Now, I need to use self-control here. I must not waste time on this wonderful organizing tool. I must not....I must...

Sep 10, 2007

On the "Ragwagon"

Well, it has caught on here. Dishrags, washcloths and the like have caught my fancy.

Daughter #1 has even caught it as well.

I love the immediacy of them. Start...done! Then use! Fulfills all my immediate knitting gratification desires.

A desire which hasn't been indulged lately is reading for pleasure. I've picked up several books, but haven't had much time due a WONDERFUL class I am taking.

What class? Perspectives on the World Christian Movement is the name and I am taking it for College Credit. Me! I haven't taking anything for college credit in almost 20 years! Fortunately, the reading is engaging and I have a vested interest in the subject...but non-fiction reading is challenging for me and there is LOTS. Really, lots!
Have any of you taken this class? What did you think?

Sep 7, 2007

Scorching Endless Summer is Ending?!

This a sock of the embossed leaves. On taking the pictures, I noticed something about the flash. With flash the color looks like it should: bright rich brown.
But without flash you can see the detail of stitching. I guess this is known by many of you who photograph your knitting, but it was new to me.

This below is a school bus cookie. All four kids decorated school bus cookies on their first day of school, a treat for a day of work. the funny thing is...most of them don't really identify with the school bus idea. Their own experience of yellow buses is more along the lines of church buses and mission trips to Mexico.

On a more literary tone, I recently finished "The Scribe" by Francine Rivers. I highly, highly recommend this book!
It is about Silas, compatriot of Peter and Paul in the times of Acts and the Epistles. I found this book to be illuminating on the lives of these great men and I found it to be on target for authenticity, although it IS a work which includes fictional words and guesses about the possible events for the time. Good historical fiction like this spurs me on...
So now I am going on!

Below is a Book Quiz I found from Tammy. you take the quiz and it tells you what kind of book you are, then gives a description of how you are like that book. It says I am "To Kill a Mockingbird" :

You're To Kill a Mockingbird!

by Harper Lee

Perceived as a revolutionary and groundbreaking person, you have
changed the minds of many people. While questioning the authority around you, you've
also taken a significant amount of flack. But you've had the admirable guts to
persevere. There's a weird guy in the neighborhood using dubious means to protect you,
but you're pretty sure it's worth it in the end. In the end, it remains unclear to you
whether finches and mockingbirds get along in real life.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Sep 3, 2007

The Night Before School Starts and All Through the Pool...

....all the kiddies were splashing while I prepped for school,

Then papa got his toe in, while I got the cam
and look what they did: first throw up, then down...Bam!

The splishes and splashes were heard hither and yon,
And the pleading for ice cream was heard by this mom,

The end of the summer was indeed coming close,
And it seemed that this eve was enjoyed to utmost,

So, contented they lay in their beds late that night,
Tired and ready for the new day in sight,
While Papa and I said a quite tired "Goodnight"

Sep 2, 2007

It is HOT!!!

It is too hot to even think about wearing scarves, but this is what finished on my needles, so here it is:

Rowan Yarn - Classic Yarns Cashsoft DK (57% extra fine merino, 33% microfibre, 10% cashmere) on size 7 needles, no modifications to pattern Midwest Moonlight from Scarf Style. While I love this easy lace pattern and am enchanted with the way the pattern looks as it grows, I was astounded at how many times I got lost where I was... and knitted the wrong thing for a long time before finally realizing it and having to go back a whole row or two. As I think back on it, I bet I frogged about a quarter of this thing, one bit at a time. Even so, I love it.

I paid my daughter $20 to put in on during the 107 degree heat for a photo. Just kidding....


This one is a picture of my August Socktopia socks. I never found a theme in time, so I just knit a pair of short socks in my favorite summer sock yarn so far, Crystal Palace Panda Cotton.

By the way, I am determined to loose many, many pounds and live life the way it was far 30 pounds down...much more to go. People are starting to notice, which is very encouraging. I just wish the camera would be more gentle with me!